We had a lot in common. We both had crazy, beautiful mothers who were caught up in the wild 1970's and who lived their lives out loud.
Sometimes, Erika and I would sit for hours, just being quiet. Because that's what you have to do when you're six years old and you are convinced that you might just be OLDER than the people raising you.
We weren't, of course. We both grew up colored by that childhood we shared. Dark and light. We knew how to respect beauty and art. We knew how to dull pain. We grew to understand the hidden truths behind what people say. I'll always be grateful for that.
We also learned how to hide.
Erika taught me how to tie my shoes and how to spell CAT. She held my hand when I cried over ... well, everything. Because I was a dramatic beast of a child.
She helped me throw a mean tantrum and she laughed with me when we had to clean it up.
Once, we soaped the floor of a bathtub because we didn't like the lady living with us and we got into a lot of trouble. I don't regret it. No one got hurt.
Erika understood why I liked to lock myself in bathrooms. I did that a lot. At home, in restaurants. Everywhere I could. Don't ask.
We sat together, late at night in the back of her father's car and waited for him (while he did something terribly exciting and most likely lurid that we couldn't be involved in...) and ate pint after pint of blueberries while we sang the entire score to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh, and the Eagles. I can't listen to the Eagles without hearing her voice.
Your voice. I miss you.
Dear Erika, wherever I may find you,
There is this past that no one knows but you. A past full of pain and joy and lost things. There were fights and tears and bites and pushes and running away from home. There were jealousies and desperate moments of love.
I don't think anyone will ever know the side of me you know. And that's a damn shame. If I found you, we could laugh about things that would make other people cry.
If I found you I could tell you secrets I can't tell anyone else.
I didn't imagine you, or the white shag carpet, or the inappropriate books. I didn't imagine eating too many plums or walking on the yellow lines barefoot so we wouldn't burn our feet. I didn't imagine knowing, no matter what, that someone saw me... that I wasn't invisible. I didn't imagine any of it. Did I?
Find me. I still have words I can't spell, and stairs too hard to climb. I still have tantrums and epic crying jags. I still want to sprawl out on the floor and remember all the secret sorrow we harbored together too young.
Sometimes I see you standing behind me, or walking in front. Sometimes I see you right in my eyes when I look in the mirror.
And I know, I mean... KNOW... that I'd be a little less lost if I could wear your denim jacket and run far, far away with you one more time. Because, didn't it feel good when we got home and the cops were there? We knew they loved us then. And then we forgot. I need to remember.
Love, to EGWC from SMC